I was at the library for hours one day,
seated in a quiet corner at a desk that was pointed towards another.
As I worked halfheartedly on poetry
and took unearned breaks to read the Wikipedia pages of
Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen,
I noticed the man sitting at the desk placed directly in my line of sight.
He had to be in his sixties,
and he was there as long as I was.
Sitting there with his back to me,
spending his day switching between Chess and Mindsweeper on the HP desktop in front of him.
At first I wondered if he really knew the point of Mindsweeper.
I remembered I had played it as a child and never knew what I was doing.
He seemed to know.
I spent much of those few hours glancing up at him,
at his navy blue sweater that looked like something my grandfather would have wore.
I studied the way he gently tapped the keys of the keyboard,
and I wondered why he was there.
Hours had gone by and it was clear he was just passing time.
He seemed lonely,
so I imagined his recently deceased wife and the grandkids that never visited.
I imagined his life having never found a wife,
wishing he had grandkids.
What was prompting him to sit there for so long?
I ended up leaving before he did.
I shuffled by him,
Months have passed now and I still think of his navy blue sweater.
I often go back to that same library and sit in that same corner,
eager to see him again.
That day may never come,
but if it does, I’m going to ask him how to play Mindsweeper.
January 2, 2017
Written on January 2, 2017 while sitting at the library waiting for the man in the navy blue sweater.